Sherlock Holmes Awakened
Most parents hope that the excessive and unrealistic crime and violence of Saturday morning cartoons will have no more negative impact on their children's lives beyond creating an addiction to television and a need to mimic the Power Rangers' moves. They may hope that their children develop no lasting relationships to these shows or any psychotic attitudes, but of course they're bound to fail when they leave their children to their own devices. Nearly four years ago, my devices shot my parents' hopes into oblivion.
Just like any regular Saturday morning, I stumbled out of bed and did the Frankenstein waltz to the television to see what was on besides Scooby-Doo. I flipped through the channels to find something decent and mind-dulling. Channel Four? Nothing. Channel Two? Too educational. Channel Sixteen? Heavens no. Then I found it.
Hidden within the catacombs of Channel Thirteen, I discovered Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century: cheesy beyond cheesy and yet interesting to watch. Who wouldn't want to see a nineteenth century detective, resurrected in 2103, fight crimes that were eerily similar to ones he had already solved in 1892? Nonetheless, from that time on, I watched every last episode that the station was willing to air, right up to the day that it was unsurprisingly canceled. I didn't mourn excessively. I mean, I had a funeral for it and wore a black armband for the next three weeks, but I eventually got over it.
What fascinated me more than the cars with no regard to the laws of physics were the titles to each episode. What was the original story of "The Six Napoleons" all about? How was "A Case of Identity" anything like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's version? And where in the world is Bohemia where this alleged scandal took place? I decided to find out. Borrowing seventeen dollars from my brother, I bought The Complete Sherlock Holmes Volumes I and II.
During the next few weeks, I feverishly read every twisted short story, every creepy novel, and every informative essay in those books. He occupied my entire mind; I wrote with a skewed Victorian tone, learned the fine art of observation and deduction and tended to practice it erroneously, prepared for the day Sherlock Holmes would come to life in the twenty-first century, knew him like a stalker knows his idol, and wrote Mary-Sue Fan-Fiction in his honor. I even bought a Deerstalker. My interest had jumped from mere curiosity to absolute fanatic obsession. My friends and family couldn't tear me away from him and no one dared try. They could only wait for my passion to fade into memory.
They're still waiting.
But the whirlwind of fandom had to stop. What was I – a Mary Sue? What would Sherlock Holmes think of me if he saw this? Had I learned nothing of his cases, his teaching, his deductive reasoning? I realized that if I was to be a true Sherlock Holmes devotee, I couldn't just memorize the stories or plaster pictures of Jeremy Brett and Basil Rathbone to my walls. I had to use his cases, think critically and evaluate the stories. I couldn't blindly praise the stories based on the merit of a singular character, but on the case as a whole.
I used Sherlock Holmes to support arguments, as the subject of a brilliant yet misunderstood oration, in essays, and to illustrate lessons like: The worst crimes hide behind white picket fences. I learned to scorn the Deerstalker he never wore, to pick out the various characters he inspired, and to never theorize without all the facts. I learned to cover my eyes when I thought I would pre-judge people so I could create an unbiased conclusion.
Somewhere, some station may remember Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, but I cannot reach it today. Still, I thank its half-wit plots and low-key animation for introducing me to the world's greatest detective, for saving me from the doldrums of Harry Potter, and for giving me a reason to think.